Formerly IELTS was the only language exam, which was accepted by the Australian government for immigration purposes.

Now they accept the following language exams:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Occupational English Test (OET)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT)
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test (Certificate in Advanced English)

Since IELTS is still the most widely accepted language exam in Australia and most of our clients choose this exam, we would like to give you a detailed explanation of it.

We first encountered IELTS as we were applying to an Australian university, and later for an Australian citizenship. We would like to prepare you for the difficulties you might face during the exam based on our personal experience.

What is IELTS?

IELTS is an acronym, meaning International English Language Testing System. IELTS used to be scantly known until the past few years, but by now it has become one of the most sought for language exam worldwide.

Why choose IELTS?

Primarily because this is the international language test required and acknowledged by the immigration offices of several countries, due to the fact that it proves certifiably that you can adequately understand, read, write and speak English. Additionally, IELTS is acknowledged, and even preferred by prestigious universities worldwide, and, following a free of charge naturalisation process, it is also accepted by the Hungarian institutes of higher education.
Last but not least, if you wish to immigrate, study or work in Australia, your IELTS exam will surely be accepted everywhere.

How is IELTS structured?

IELTS is a unified exam, meaning that it is not divided into individual levels (e.g. there is no intermediate level IELTS exam), there are only two types:

  • General Training (General)
  • Academic Module (Academic).

Academic IELTS is required mainly by universities and colleges, and it is also necessary in order to have certain profession acknowledged which require a diploma in higher education. Such professions are e.g. healthcare and public education.
In all other cases, a General IELTS exam is sufficient.

IELTS consists of four main areas as follows:

Listening takes about 30 minutes, its main difficulty is that the recording is played only once.

Text comprehension is possibly the easiest part of the exam, where you are expected to read and understand considerable amounts of written text in 60 minutes, which may sound a long time at first, yet it poses a challenge to many in the beginning.

Writing is considered by many the hardest part of the exam, but our personal experience shows, that this ability may be improved tremendously through exercise.

IELTS oral exam is conducted by a native speaker and lasts around 15 minutes. The exam is recorded and the recording is re-evaluated by another IELTS examiner.

There are two areas where the Academic Module and the General Training overlap: Listening and Speaking. Reading and Writing are quite different though, and require different knowledge base.

How is IELTS evaluated?

IELTS is evaluated on a scale from 1 to 9, but you can also achieve half points. So the results of the different areas can be for example 4.5, 6.0, 7.0 and 5.5.

At the end you will have an Overall and an Each band score. The first means the average, so in our example: 6.0. While the latter means the score you achieved in all four areas, which is the weakest point: 4.5. You have to be careful, which score is in the requirements, because as you can see, the difference can be quite big.

So if an Each Band minimum is set out for immigration purposes, for instance an IELTS 6.0 is required for a certain profession, then it means that the applicant is expected to score at least 6.0 in each area on the same exam.


We hope you found this information useful, and if you have more questions about IELTS please visit our FAQ.